Studio 18 Creative Director Jean-Marc Cafà tells us about The Box Project, a Valletta 2018 education project with Studio 18. Read on for more…



In its first year of its development the Box Project sought to work with 13/14 year olds from secondary schools around Malta. The mission of the project was to introduce the students to devised theatre. This form of theatre is created as a result of collaboration, in which the script does not originate from one writer but from a group of people who carry out exercises and tasks in order to tell the story they wish to tell.

Devising theatre includes several stages, all of which were adopted in the sessions with the students. These include achieving the most conducive environment for the session, brainstorming, the development of ideas, research, problem-solving, feedback and revision.

The reason for the project’s title lies in the method in which the students were given a start-off point from which to work. In each session they would be presented with a box which contained a stimulus; a poem, quote, music, article, object, and other interesting items. This would serve them as a source of inspiration for the work they create in that session.

It was very interesting working with classes of students from different schools. There were two workshop leaders working on the project, each with two classes from separate schools to lead. One class had been exposed to this form of theatre before and were keen to create without many concerns. Other classes, on the other hand, had never been to a theatre or taken part in a drama class. There was a lot of fear with some students and a lot of reservations, but the students managed to reflect these insecurities and struggles in their work. The result from every class was a very honest portrayal of how these young teenagers view themselves, and the world around them.

The stimuli were the same for each class, but in the end, the final pieces couldn’t have been more different. Once it was over the students, who had never been on a stage before, asked what project we’d be working on the following week. It was with a heavy heart that I advised them to keep up the good work and to become active in their school’s activities so that they would be ready for the next project that comes along.